NAPLES, Italy — U.S. naval forces seized an estimated $1 million in drugs while rescuing eight Iranian and Pakistani nationals who set fire to their fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman, the Navy said.
The patrol ship USS Sirocco was conducting a countersmuggling operation in international waters Saturday, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet said in a statement the same day.
Patrol ships USS Chinook and USS Thunderbolt put out the fire on the vessel, which sustained significant damage and sank, the Navy said. But U.S. forces confiscated nearly 1,235 pounds of hashish, about one-third of the shipment.
The men set fire to the boat as Sirocco approached for a routine verification of its country of registration. They then jumped into the water as the blaze grew, said Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a spokesman for the command and 5th Fleet.
They admitted to smuggling hashish and methamphetamines and were transferred to a “regional nation” for additional medical treatment and repatriation, according to the statement.